By Erica Solvig
The Cincinnati Enquirer
LEBANON - In its glory days, residents say East Main Street was a picturesque row of beautiful, historic homes that people would walk by and dream of owning.
But many of those homes' owners say the state highway has become so overrun by vehicles that the residential charm is gone.
They're looking to City Council to change that by rezoning the area from Residential-1 Urban to central business district so they can make a profit on their homes.
City Council hosted a public hearing on the matter Tuesday night, but held off on voting on the issue until its next meeting Dec. 23.
"The noise is unbearable these days," said Rod Hilterbran, an East Main Street resident who started the rezoning petition among property owners.
"I live with trucks going by my house constantly and that will not stop. And even if you remove those, you will have constant traffic," Hilterban said.
Earlier this year, the city planning commission hosted an information meeting to consider rezoning East and West Main streets to a central business district.
The planning commission recommended last month rezoning East Main Street to a central business district, which would allow single-family, office and retail use.
If the central business district rezoning is approved, two-family and multifamily uses also would be permitted on the second or third floors and existing uses would be allowed to continue.
The planning commission would have to approve any new buildings as well as additions to or demolitions of current buildings, many of which are also within the East End Historic District.
But not everyone who spoke at Tuesday's public hearing was in favor of the zoning change.
"Most the homes and the properties that are on the new Main Street are now showcased in a manner that really is fitting of their style and of the city and of the history of our city," said resident Barbara Kuhns, referring to the $11.5 million Main Street reconstruction project that is more than halfway complete.
"The city would lose a great deal of charm if these homes are turned into businesses."
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